Its circular structure and line drawings resemble the execution evident in pre-historic cave paintings.
The Warli tribe of Western India is found on the northern outskirts of Mumbai. Although located in close proximity to an Indian metropolis, the people of this tribe do not emulate or inculcate modern urban influences in their daily life.
However, they have influenced the modern artistic landscape with their distinct art form- Warli folk art. So if you are an art lover who wishes to explore this indigenous art form, which is believed to be more than a thousand years old, then tag along with us!
Paintings that 'invoke the power of Gods'
First discovered during the late seventies, the roots of Warli art can be traced back to the 10th-century. The unique aspect of this folk art is its circular structure and line drawings, which resemble the execution evident in pre-historic cave paintings. This simple art form was also a substitute for words as it helped in transmitting folklores down the generations.
Used as a form to vividly express everyday life and social events of the Warli tribe, these paintings embellished the mud walls of village houses. Traditionally, these paintings are created by females of the tribe and are done in white, obtained from grounding rice into a white powder, with occasional dots in red and yellow.
These paintings either showcase mythological stories or human figurines, that can be seen engaged in myriad activities like hunting and harvesting. It is believed that Warli paintings invoke the power of Gods and that's why several of these are observed to depict Palghat- the 'Marriage God', without whose presence nuptials cannot take place.
Warli paintings are rarely seen drawn in a linear fashion, however, artisans have now adapted to the demands of the new age and executed such ideas. In fact, you can see one such painting on display on the walls adjoining the Governor's bungalow at Walkeshwar, Mumbai. If this has intrigued you enough to learn this simple and austere art form, then plan a trip to the Warli heartland as and when the pandemic recedes!